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Prestigious Veni grant awarded for research into time in early modern metaphysics

29 August 2014

Dr Emily Thomas, a postdoc at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen, was awarded a Veni grant of € 250,000 by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) at the end of July for the project ‘Time in Early Modern Metaphysics’. She is one of nine 2014 Veni laureates at the University of Groningen.

Emily Thomas: ' I’m absolutely delighted about the Veni. When NWO emailed me with the results of my application, I sent it to Peter [funding officer] immediately, to check I wasn’t misreading it. I then emailed everyone who had helped me with the application process, from crafting the project proposal and rebuttal, to rehearsing the interview.'

Dr Emily Thomas

What is time?

The grant will enable Dr Thomas to examine how people in the seventeenth century attempted to answer the question 'What is time?'. 'Very little research has been done on this, perhaps because scholars have always focused on the concept of 'space'. In the seventeenth century, brand new theories of time were developed which conceived time as a substance-like thing, and as an attribute of God; these theories interacted in new ways with existing issues, including free will, identity and idealism', explains Thomas. Her research will also highlight the role played in these debates by neglected women philosophers.

Dr Thomas will write a monograph, working title Time in Early Modern Metaphysics. She will also organise a major international conference at Groningen on early modern women thinkers, inviting papers that treat with the work of women on metaphysics, science and religion. This will give rise to an edited collection. In order to communicate the results of this project to the public, Thomas will produce a series of short internet videos on time, and write a popular newspaper article on the relationship between historical women philosophers and the current under-representation of women in professional philosophy.

Innovational Research Incentive Scheme

The Veni programme is part of the NWO's Innovational Research Incentive Scheme and gives excellent researchers the opportunity to develop their own line of research at various stages in their career. Veni awards are intended for researchers who obtained their PhD no longer than three years ago. The deadline for applications is at the beginning of January each year.

More information

For further information about the project, contact a.e.e.thomas
Last modified:17 June 2015 2.52 p.m.
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